PFLAG to host prom for queer Texan youth

To support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young adults in the North Texas area, the Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth chapters of Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) are sponsoring the first-ever prom dedicated solely to gay youths.

The prom, called the 'Over the Rainbow GAYla,' will be Saturday, May 30 at the Dallas Grand Hotel, 1914 Commerce St. Teenagers and young adults ages 13-22 and their guests will be welcome at this history-making event.

"It occurred to us that our gay children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, etc. were missing out on an important part of the high school experience for fear of attending their own school's prom with the person they care about," said Dave Gleason, president of PFLAG/Dallas Chapter. "Our gay, lesbian and bisexual youth should have the chance to experience their prom without having to worry about negative repercussions from those students, teachers or parents who may not be aware of , or practice acceptance or tolerance of their classmates' sexual orientation."

The prom will include music, dancing, food, decorations and a professional photographer to take pictures of the couples in attendance. There also will be special security measure in place to ensure the safety and privacy of those attending.

Tickets to the prom are $30 each and it's Gleason's hope that community activists and supporters can help cover $20 of the ticket cost so the youths will only have to contribute $10 to the price of the prom.

"We want the kids to have a stake in this event but we also understand the financial aspect can be difficult for some kids," he said. "That's why we're encouraging the community to help contribute to the cost of producing the prom."

PFLAG chapters will underwrite the cost of the prom but will be counting heavily on local support from gay-related and other businesses and supporters. Any money raised beyond that to cover expenses will be donated to the Walt Whitman Community School and to fund scholarships for OutYouth Dallas, RALLY, and Journey Out groups to attend the upcoming 'Young, Loud and Proud Youth Leadership Conference in San Francisco.

"We hope all of North Texas' gay youth will feel safe in the special environment we are creating on their behalf. It's time they had to stop being afraid to experience the normal joys of being a teenager," Gleason said.

Individual and corporate donations to the 'Over the Rainbow GAYla' can be sent to PFLAG/Dallas, P O Box 586369, Dallas, TX, 75258. Teenagers and young adults interested in attending the prom may call the Prom Line at 972-530-6352 or visit the PFLAG Web site at www.pflagdallas.org/calendar.htm.

In addition to PFLAG chapters, the following groups are sponsoring the event, including Uncommon Legacy, OutYouth Dallas and the Gay and Lesbian Student Teacher Education Network (GLSTEN).

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